Meeting Millennium Development Goals
through local languages
Goal 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
SIL views local language development as essential to achieve this goal.
People in ethnolinguistic communities are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases due in part to the lack of essential information in the mother tongue. Reading materials in local languages that discuss hygiene, nutrition,and the prevention and treatment of diseases have proven to be effective in improving general health and life expectancy. The availability of culturally-relevant information dispels misconceptions surrounding HIV/AIDS.
"HIV/AIDS was speaking my mother tongue"
"Some years ago my elder brother passed on after a long illness. According to local custom, his next brother inherited his wife. He too passed away. The wife was accused of witchcraft, and later she too died. The three individuals presented the same symptoms before their death. In the community, people said it was the result of AIDS. I could not believe such a thing since we believed AIDS was an acronym for 'American Invention to Discourage Sex.'
"Then one day a man in our local church gave me a brochure on HIV/AIDS. This brochure in our mother tongue was developed by SIL Cameroon. That day, reading through it, the message was so clear and spoke directly to my heart. I understood that HIV/AIDS was speaking my mother tongue—meaning, it was a member of our community and present in our village. I wish I had read this brochure before; perhaps I could have saved at least one of my brothers' lives."
Similar reports have come from other *language communities that have this AIDS brochure.
*This AIDS brochure is published in 34 languages: Aghem, Bakossi, Bafut, Babanki, Bulu, Bum, Badwe'e, Cuvok, Fang (EG), Fulfulde Ajamiya, Fulfulde Romans, Hdi, Gemzek, Kako, Kejom, Kenyang, Kombe (EG), Lamnso', Mbembe, Mékaa, Meta', Moloko, Muyang, Nomaande, Ngomba, Nuasue, Nugunu, Numaala, Pinyin, Spanish (EG), Tuki, Tunen, Yambetta, Yemba